We are constantly surrounded by sounds. Some of these sounds are important to us, others not. Some sounds are pleasant (like music, the voice of a loved one), others can drive us crazy (like the neighbor's lawn mower or a dripping tap). On the other hand, we do not hear every sound that is there, we ignore many of them. How much of the surrounding sounds we perceive varies from person to person. While the one person feels disturbed even by the slightest noise in the concentration, other people do not seem to notice the noise around them at all.
We want to understand how many of the sounds that surround us are actually perceived and how people differ in their perception.
To investigate this we use brainwave measurements (EEG). This allows us to examine perception processes without overtly asking the person and thereby changing their attention (as soon as I will ask you whether you notice the jackhammer in front of the house you will notice it).
Our goal is to measure brain activity in everyday life. We use special electrodes developed by us, which are attached around the ear. With these electrodes we can inconspicuously measure EEG over long periods of time. Unfortunately, we can not measure the activity of the entire brain with these electrodes, but only a part of it. In our research, we would like to better understand which brain processes we can measure with these electrodes and which remain hidden from us. Arnd Meiser is working on this question.
Electroencephalography (EEG) allows to measure brain activity with electrodes on the head. For recordings in the laboratory special electrodes caps are used.For EEG measurement in every day life these caps are not optimal. Therefore, we develop new hardware to record EEG in every day life. We take an interative approach. Our current recording setup can be seen below: